Elisa Guma

Elisa Guma I joined the Cobra lab in January 2016 as a PhD candidate in the Integrated Program in Neuroscience (IPN) at McGill University. I completed my undergrad at Dickinson College, a liberal arts school in Carlisle, PA, where I majored in neuroscience. I then went on to do my master’s degree at McGill in the IPN program, under the supervision of Dr. Bruno Giros. I studied the effects of chronic antipsychotic treatment on mouse brain volume as well as neuronal and glial cell density. With the use of transgenic mice, I was able to investigate the role of the D2 and D3 dopamine receptors. In my doctoral work at the CoBrA lab, I investigate how exposure to prenatal maternal immune activation, a known risk factor for psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder, affects offspring brain development in mice as a model species. For this work I leverage both longitudinal in vivo MRI and behavioural assessments to study child, adolescent, and adult development as well as ex vivo MRI and post-mortem assays to investigate fetal and neonatal development.

I serve as an elementary school teacher in a special needs classroom through McGill University’s organization Brain Reach, teaching 4-6th graders once per month about the brain and behaviour. As teachers, we hope to provide fun, interactive neuroscience-based workshops in the hopes of teaching and inspiring children. I volunteer as a writer for Brain Post, for which I write easy-to-read summaries of latest neuroscience publications in the hopes of bridging the gap that exists between scientists across different fields, and between scientists and the general population.

Some fun facts about me are that I’ve grown up in six different countries, and when I’m not doing science, you can probably find me making bowls at the pottery wheel, weightlifting, or rock climbing.